Alumni Applause

Dwain Simmons

February 1st, 2019 by alumni

Dwain Simmons is a native of Sunflower, MS and the son of JSU graduates Terry and Cynthia Stovall. Dwain graduated in 2002 from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education Technology. After graduation, Dwain followed in one of his sibling's footsteps Terry Jr.,  also a JSU graduate; where he enrolled in Dallas  ISD's alternative teacher certification program. Dwain began teaching 2nd and 3rd grade at Mount Auburn Elementary in Dallas, TX in 2002. During this time Dwain also attained his Masters of Art in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington.

After four years as an assistant principal, Dwain earned his first principalship at Charles A. Gill Elementary. Dwain served as principal for five years before taking on the challenge of Edward Titche Elementary. Titche Elementary was rated the fourth worst elementary school in the state of Texas by Children at Risk and was on the verge of closure due to failing to meet the state standards. After one year of joining the Dallas ISD’s Accelerating Campus Excellence or ACE program, Titche became a B rated campus and received six out six distinctions under his leadership. His future goals are to find ways to support a pipeline of educators from HBCU's to similar schools such as Titche. Dwain believes every child deserves to be a champion and he hopes to become more involved in bringing more educators from Jackson State University to be those champions.

Dwain has been an educator for seventeen years, a teacher for six years, and currently, he is in his eleventh year as an administrator. Dwain became an educator to provide some of the less fortunate scholars an opportunity to be exposed to a quality education and to help see that their physical addresses do not determine their destination. Damien is an active and dedicated member of JSUNAA – Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter. 

Posted in Alumni Applause

Judge Terri F. Love is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.  Judge Love graduated in 1983 from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.  She received a Juris Doctor from Tulane University School of Law in 1986 and was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar in April of 1987.  In 2004, Judge Love received her Master of Laws degree in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia.  In 2007, Judge Love was selected to attend the International Judicial Academy, where she studied international law at The Hague, Netherlands.  In 2011, Judge Love was selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to participate in the inaugural session of the Louisiana Judicial Leadership Institute.  The LJLI assists in developing leadership skills, increasing awareness of leadership issues and provides a network for court leaders across Louisiana.  Judge Love began her legal career in New Orleans with the firm of Jefferson, Bryan, Gray, & Jupiter where, among other things, she represented the Orleans Parish School Board in tort litigation.  In 1990, Judge Love established a private law practice; she represented clients in all areas of law and specialized in family law.  In 1993, she was appointed Judge Ad Hoc by the judges of the Juvenile Court of Orleans Parish.  The following year, Mayor Marc Morial appointed her Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans.  During her tenure, Judge Love was the lead author of the city’s first domestic violence ordinance. In October 1995, Judge Love was elected to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.  In September 2000, she was elected to the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, unopposed. In August 2004, and August 2014, Judge Love was re-elected to serve ten-year terms, unopposed. 

 A continuing student of the law, Judge Love has completed the New York University School of Law’s Institute for Appellate Judges and the George Mason School of Law Collegium.  She is an active lecturer in various continuing legal education programs and has served as a Trial Advocacy Instructor at the Louisiana State University School of Law.  She has also acted as an adjunct professor at Miles College Law School. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Judge Love coordinated the development and implementation of the Fourth Circuit’s Disaster Preparation, Continuity of Operations Plan. Judge Love currently serves as the Docket Committee Chair to ensure timely and efficient docket administration. In addition to the numerous community awards that Judge Love has received, in May 2004, she was bestowed with the prestigious Ernest N. Morial, Judicial Pacesetter Award, presented by the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society.  In 2012, Judge Love received the National Urban League Women of Power Award.  Judge Love is dedicated to the education of our youth. She has served on the Xavier University Preparatory School’s Board of Directors, Jackson State University’s Development Board, and also served as the inaugural chair of the Jackson State University Woman’s Philanthropy Board. Judge Love currently serves on the Amistad Research Center’s Board of Directors.

Judge Love also serves as a mentor and advisor with programs preparing the youth of New Orleans for collegiate education, including College Track and JOB1 (2018 Young Adult Achievement Award recipient).  Judge Love’s commitment to young people includes providing the youth with an interactive experience in the judicial system.  In furtherance of this commitment, Judge Love conducts annual Law Days. Judge Love is a member of the Louisiana State Bar, the Louisiana State Bar Foundation, the National Bar Association, the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, the American Judges Association, New Orleans Bar Association Inn of Court President (2011- 2016), and the National Association of Women Judges.  She has also served on the ABA’s Judicial Division Appellate Judges Conference.  She has been appointed as a hearing officer for the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana to adjudicate allegations of judicial misconduct. Judge Love has been a member of the Greater Saint Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church since 1987.  She serves as the activity director for the Senior Citizens Ministry of the church.  Her dedication to providing, cultivating, and encouraging service to the community is continuous, as she is an active member of the Omicron Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (inducted in 1981 to the Gamma Rho Chapter at Jackson State University) and the New Orleans Chapter of The Links, Inc.  Judge Love has been married to Ellria Love for the past thirty years.  They are the proud parents of Jasmine Love-Cockfield (Samuel) and Ellria Hall.  Judge Love is extremely proud that her daughter is a 2011 Jackson State Alumni and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., inducted into the Gamma Rho Chapter in 2010.  Jasmine is presently employed as the Manager of Internal Communications and Special Programs with Rheem in Atlanta, Georgia.

Posted in Alumni Applause

Senator Hillman Terome Frazier

December 6th, 2018 by alumnirelations

Senator Hillman Terome Frazier is chairman of the Senate Housing Committee representing District 27 in Hinds County. Before beginning his Senate service in 1993, he was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives for 13 years. He is a member of the Appropriations, Elections, Interstate and Federal Cooperation, Investigate State Offices, Judiciary Division A, Public Health and Welfare and Universities & Colleges committees.  He is also a member of the Congressional Redistricting Committee and the Legislative Reapportionment Committee.

Senator Frazier was born in Jackson, Mississippi.  He is a graduate of Jackson State University and George Washington University’s University National Law Center.  He successfully completed the “Program for Emerging Political Leaders” at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in 1999. In 2000 he was nominated and selected to participate in the “Executive Seminar for Southern Legislators” at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 2001 he was selected to participate in the “Governing in the Global Age Seminar” at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.  He also studied as a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2001. A life-long learner, Senator Frazier graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hinds Community College on December 14, 2012, with a degree in “Automobile Collision Repair Technology.”

Senator Frazier’s legislative accomplishments are quite extensive.  In 1995, he led the Mississippi Legislature in ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States of America.  The State of Mississippi refused to ratify the Amendment in 1865.  He also did the research and authored the Compulsory School Attendance and Public Kindergarten Bills, which became the cornerstone of the Education Reform Act of 1982.

Senator Frazier authored the bill, which made Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday an official state holiday in Mississippi.  As Chairman of the House Judiciary “A” Subcommittee, he successfully fought for the passage of the Mississippi Crime Victims Compensation Act, which compensates the victim of violent crimes up to $15,000.  He also authored and secured passage of the Landlord Tenant Act, which governs housing standards and rental agreements in Mississippi. During the 2006 Legislative Session, he fought for the passage of a law that removed breastfeeding from the indecent exposure and the disturbance the peace sections of the Mississippi Code.

Senator Frazier has been the recipient of many awards including the “Global Understanding and Cultural Advocate Award” by the Mississippi World Trade Center in 2014; the “Purple Peace Prize Award” by the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 2014; the “2013 Legislator of the Year Award” by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); the “International  Humanitarian Leadership and Service Award” by the American Red Cross Mississippi Capital River Chapter in 2013; the “Humanitarian of the Year Award” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in 2012; the “Civic and Political Advocacy 4B Award” by the Phylaxis Society in 2012; the “Hometown Hero Shining Example Award” by the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2012; the “Public Service Award” by the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians in 2012; the “Legislative Leadership Award” by the Mississippi Nurses Association in 2010;  the “Delta Day at the Capitol Award” by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2009; “Heritage Award” for outstanding leadership and meritorious service by the Forward Lookers Federated Club of Mississippi in 2008; “Humanity In Nigeria Award” by the Centre for Women, Youth and Community Action, Lafia, Nigeria in 2008; “Legislator of the Year” by the Victims’ Right Foundation in 2007;“James L. “Jim” Bean, Jr. Health Care Leadership Award” for outstanding innovative legislative leadership in the mission to provide access to quality health care for all people of Mississippi in 2006; the“ACLU of Mississippi Award” for outstanding leadership in the Mississippi Legislature in 2006; the “Spirit of Service Award” for the support and passage of the Mississippi Breastfeeding Legislation in 2006; “The Political Service Award” by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter in 2006;  “The Legislative Award” for dedication and commitment to preserving quality care for all Mississippians by the Jackson Ophthalmological Society in November, 2004; the “Crown of Peace Award” for exemplary leadership in reconciliation and peacemaking by the Inter-religious and International Peace Council in February, 2004; “The Ralph Bunche Award” by the Jackson State University International Festival in April, 2000; the “2000 Millennium Torch Award” by the Magnolia Bar Association in January, 2000; and the Long Distance Runner Award” by the National Association of Black Social Workers Jackson Chapter in February, 2000. 

In December 1997, he was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” by the National Black Caucus of Legislators and presented the prestigious “Service Award” by the Jackson Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers.  He was also awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation” by the Office of International Visitors of the United States Information Agency for “promoting international understanding between the United States and other nations of the world” in 1997 and 1995.

Senator Frazier is a graduate of Leadership Jackson and Millsaps College’s Leadership Seminar in the Humanities.  He was the recipient of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship to Hungary in 1998 and studied in Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic.  He was invited by the European Union to participate in the European Union Visitors Programme and spent time meeting with officials in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Greece during the summer of 1997. In 2002 he was selected to participate in the Bavarian-American State Legislators Conference “State Governance for the 21st Century: Promoting Civil Society, Security and Economic Prosperity” in Munich, Germany, Bavarian cities and Brussels. He has also traveled and worked on projects in Albania, Amsterdam, Azerbaijan, Germany, Ghana, India, the Republic of Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Uzbekistan, Turkey, Israel, and the United States Virgin Islands.

He and his wife Jean Maria reside in Jackson and have two children, Julian and Gabrielle, daughter-in-law Erica, grandson Kristopher Julian, and granddaughter Kawaii Joi.  

Posted in Alumni Applause

Judge Irving is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi.  In 1968, he graduated from Jackson State College and taught for four years in the public schools of the Mississippi Delta before going to law school.  He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1974, and in 1975, he became the first African American to clerk for the Mississippi Supreme Court when he became the law clerk for the late Chief Justice Robert G. Gillespie.  In 1976, he served as an Earl Warren Fellow Intern with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York.  In 1978, Judge Irving became the first African American assistant United States Attorney in Mississippi since reconstruction when he was hired by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi.  He became the first African American to serve as board attorney for a Mississippi county when the Board of Supervisors of Humphreys County hired him in 1988.

Prior to being elected to the Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi in 1998, Judge Irving spent approximately twenty years in private practice.  He practiced law in Greenville, Mississippi, with two college friends for approximately ten years before returning home to Greenwood, where he enjoyed a solo practice for ten years before being elected to the bench.  During his years as a private attorney, Judge Irving had a diverse practice which included representation of both civil and criminal clients and a number of public clients, including the Housing Authority of the City of Greenwood; the cities of Itta Bena and Shaw; the towns of  Jonestown, Sledge, and Winstonville; and the Shaw, Mound Bayou, and Leflore County school districts.  He also handled a number of impactful cases, including the successful defense of Hershal Wilburn’s challenge to the election of Peggy Hopson to the Board of Supervisors of Hinds County, which resulted in Hinds County having a majority African American board for the first time; and the defense of Orlando Fratesi’s challenge to the election of Carl Palmer to the Greenwood City Council.  Although a new election was ordered, Judge Irving’s role in ensuring that African American voters were not disenfranchised during the new election ultimately resulted in Greenwood also having a majority African American council for the first time.

Judge Irving has served as a Presiding Judge on the Appeals Court since March of 2011, and was instrumental in expanding the Court’s Court on the Road Program to include annual oral arguments at Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University, and Rust College.  Judge Irving is a past president and treasurer of the Magnolia Bar Association.  He is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States of America,  American Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar, and the Magnolia Bar Association.  He is also a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.,  a former member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Council of School Board Attorneys. Additionally, Judge Irving is a life member of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association and has established and funded an endowed scholarship at his beloved “Thee I Love.”  He is a Methodist and a member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Greenwood.  Judge Irving is married to the former Ethola Garrett Collins, and they have six children.

Posted in Alumni Applause

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) George Torrie Jackson, Jr. is a native of Jackson, MS. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in Education Administration, both from Jackson State University.   LTC Jackson is a 30-year member of the U.S. Army Reserve / Mississippi Army National Guard and veteran of Operation Iraq Freedom. He began his military career as a Petroleum Laboratory Specialist (E-3) (894th Quartermaster Company, Jackson, MS – 1988-1992), then as a Finance Specialist (E-4) (210th Finance Battalion, Jackson, MS – 1992-1996).  LTC Jackson was commissioned through the Mississippi Military Academy (Class 38), Camp Shelby, MS in 1996.  As a commissioned officer, LTC Jackson has held many duty assignments to include positions as a Subsistence Officer, (114th Area Support Group, Hattiesburg, MS – 1996 – 1997), Platoon Leader (3656th Maintenance Company, Camp Shelby, MS – 1997 -1998), Detachment Commander (3656th Maintenance Company, DET 1, Waynesboro, MS – 1998 – 2000), Maintenance Control Officer / Executive Officer (3656th Maintenance Company, Camp Shelby, MS – 2000 -2001), Detachment Commander / Executive Officer (3656th Maintenance Company, DET 2, Gloster, MS – 2001 -2002), S-1 Personnel Officer (298th Maintenance Battalion, Philadelphia, MS – 2002 -2003), Service and Support Officer (114th Area Support Group, Hattiesburg, MS – 2003 – 2006).  During Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004) LTC Jackson served as the C4 Sustainment Battle Captain and Coalition Acquisition Review Board (CARB and Super CARB) secretary.  His next successive assignments included Company Commander (1/185th Aviation Battalion, E Company, Jackson, MS – 2006 – 2008), S-3 Operations Officer (8/108th Transportation Battalion, Jackson, MS – 2008 – 2012), Executive Officer (8/108th Transportation Battalion, Jackson, MS – 2012 – 2014), Materiel Readiness Branch Chief (377th Theater Sustainment Command, Belle Chasse, LA – 2014 – 2016). 

LTC Jackson currently serves as the Battalion Commander of the 5th Logistic Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) Support Battalion, located in Sheffield, AL. 

LTC Jackson’s awards and commendations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, NATO Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Overseas Service Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Mississippi Emergency Service Medal and the Mississippi Longevity Medal.  

In his civilian capacity, LTC Jackson serves as a school administrator for the Holmes County School District Central High School, located in Lexington, MS, and holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office-Reserve Division in Jackson, MS. LTC Jackson, his wife Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, and two sons Cameron and Kendall currently live in Terry, MS.

Posted in Alumni Applause

Dr. Levertis Meeks

November 7th, 2018 by alumnirelations

Dr. Levertis Meeks, a native of Lexington, Mississippi, is a 2010, 2012 and 2017 graduate of Jackson State University’s College of Liberal Arts (English) and College of Education (Educational Administration). During his matriculation at Jackson State University, he established himself early on as a student leader and allowed his commitment to excellence and love for Jackson State University to mold and shape him into the type of leader he aspired to be and the man that he would ultimately become. His participation as a student included the following: Pre Alumni Club, COGIC Collegiate Club, The Shakespeare Club, Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society, Graduate Student Council, Doctoral Student Association, International Golden Key Society, Alpha Kappa Mu and has contributed to The Blue & White Flash. Dr. Meeks took an interest in the life and works of Dr. Margaret Walker-Alexander where he was able to secure a graduate assistantship through the Center for University Scholars and work for the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State with Margaret Walker personal papers digitization project. He has been an active alumnus of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc. (JSUNAA) since 2010, where he continues to display his love and appreciation for his “Dear Old College Home” through his work and involvement on both the local and national level. He has worked in Higher Education since 2010 in several capacities at Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, and Lane College; he also taught in K12 as a Senior-level English teacher.

In 2017, Dr. Meeks relocated to Memphis, Tennessee to accept a faculty appointment at Southwest Tennessee Community College. He completed his terminal degree (Ph.D.) from Jackson State University and graduated in December of 2017 and became active in the Memphis Alumni Chapter where he was appointed to serve as the Director of Membership in 2018. Dr. Meeks continues to serve Jackson State University and the National Alumni Association not only through the roles and responsibilities tied into his current position but also through his commitment to the local chapter. Included in his most recent accomplishments, Dr. Meeks became a published author in fall 2018; he released his book titled The Transformative Power of Slavery and Southern Traditions.

Along with his current position Dr. Meeks serves as a High Impact Practices and Innovation Faculty member and a Southwest Honors Faculty member. He recently authored a grant that was approved through the Tennessee Board of Regents to take fifteen (15) Southwest students on a nine-day International study abroad excursion to Cape Town, South Africa to study the region and its global cultural impact. Dr. Meeks is active in his community by volunteering at the local library, Clean Memphis, United Way, and supports the Memphis Union Mission. Dr. Meeks believes that if we can’t be a service to our fellow man and community, then our living is truly in vain

Posted in Alumni Applause

Dirkland T. Smith

November 2nd, 2018 by alumnirelations


Dirkland T. Smith , a 1995 graduate from Jackson State University, possesses a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with an emphasis in Health Care Administration and a Bachelor’s in Political Science with a Pre-Law concentration. At the age of 17 years old, Smith enlisted in the Army National Guard as a dental tech. Later, he received his commission as an officer in the United States Navy (USN), and recently, promoted to Commander. He had been actively serving as the Assistant VP for Healthcare Professional’s Talent Acquisitions in the USN until accepting the position at FAMC. Following a nation-wide search, the Faulkton Area Medical Center (FAMC) Board of Directors announced the appointment of Dirkland T. Smith as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Administrator.  Mr. Smith started the position on August 20, 2018.

Smith comes to Faulkton Area Medical Center as a successful healthcare executive with nearly 18 years of senior leadership experience in civilian and military healthcare organizations. He uses an approach based on Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Excellence, and a Smile. He has experience in strategic planning, physician relations, team building/leadership, crisis and emergency management, employee development, budget/finance, public relations, contract administration, and project management. Smith is also a long-time member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Hospital Board member Linda Bartholomew commented, "I am very excited about Dirkland coming to Faulkton and was impressed with him the minute I read his resume.  Meeting him in person confirmed my first impressions as I could see the passion he had for people and being part of a community."

Smith commented, "I am humbled and honored beyond words to serve as your next Chief Executive Officer/Administrator for Faulkton Area Medical Center, my family and I look forward to meeting everyone and embarking on a new chapter in our lives and developing friendships that will last a lifetime”. 


Posted in Alumni Applause

Yolanda R. Owens 2018 Alumnus of the Year

October 19th, 2018 by alumnirelations

JSU alumna Yolanda R. Owens has been named the 2018 Alumnus of the Year for the Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc. She received the award during the association’s annual Fall Council Meeting on September 22, 2018, in Jackson, MS. Having split her childhood across two states, Yolanda calls both Hattiesburg, MS and Athens, GA home. She chose Jackson State because it is her parents’ alma mater and because she was the recipient of a full academic scholarship. Enrolled in the dual-degree program, Yolanda received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from JSU and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, GA.

Professionally, Yolanda worked for several years as a Civil Engineer and is currently employed with Kinder Morgan as a Senior Contract Administrator for the Southeast Region. In this role, she is responsible for managing all aspects of vendor contracts for pipeline and facilities construction. A resident of Decatur, Georgia, Yolanda is a life member of JSUNAA (nationally and locally) and served as President of the Metro Atlanta Chapter from 2005-2009. Her dedication on the local level earned her the honor of Metro Atlanta Chapter Alumnus of the Year in 2006 and 2010. She has chaired several committees and also served two terms as Southeast Regional Vice President.

Yolanda took office as the 18th President of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Inc. (JSUNAA) on July 1, 2014, and completed her service on June 30, 2018. She was the first female elected to the role in 22 years (Melvene Coney elected in 1992) and, taking office at age 42, she was also one of the youngest to serve in the position. When asked why she ran for president of the Alumni Association, Yolanda Owens responded, “Serving as President of JSUNAA is the very least that I can do to give back to the university that gave me so much.” She often speaks of arriving at Jackson State in the fall of 1989, as a shy 17-year-old who barely wanted to speak in public.

By the end of her four years at Jackson State, she had come out of her shell and had found her voice. In 2014, she decided to use that voice to give back to her dear old college home by serving as national alumni president. As President, Yolanda’s vision and the platform were “ABC: Align, Bridge, Collaborate.” Align the Alumni Association with the university administration. Bridge the gap between the alumni and the students. Collaborate with the community, civic and educational organizations for the advancement of JSU. Notable accomplishments and initiatives of the Owens Administration include:

 501c3 Non Profit Status approved by IRS with an effective date of January 24, 2018

 Alumni giving increased from approximately $600,000 to over $1,000,000 in four years (per data provided by JSU Division of Institutional Advancement)

 Completed Funding of $100,000 JSUNAA Scholarship Endowment and increased JSUNAA total assets by $125,000 in 4 years

 Nearly $800k in Endowments from Alumni Chapters

 Significant rebranding effort including the new JSUNAA Logo, new website & standardization of chapter banners and signage nationwide

 Increased alumni engagement & communication through social media, bi-monthly "What's Happening" emails highlighting chapter events across the country and a monthly “President’s Pen”

 Increased Life membership by 160+ members

 Published 2015 alumni directory (in collaboration with Department of Alumni and Constituency Relations)

 JSUNAA served as official host of JSU Day at the Capitol 2018

 Founding member of the HBCU Alumni Coalition, established in 2014 by SWAC Alumni National Presidents

 Represented JSU at Essence Fest HBCU Alumni President's Panel in 2015

 THRIVE Young Alumni Network established as JSUNAA affinity group to increase young alumni participation

 Tigers Mentoring Network in partnership with Miss JSU 2015-2016, Charence Higgins

Yolanda’s dedication to the Alumni Association and the University is unsurpassed. Whether traveling the country to support local chapters or personally connecting with thousands of alumni via social media, her level of engagement fostered an environment that encouraged the open and honest dialogue required for the continued growth of the Association. In her hands-on approach to leadership, she asked alumni to work with her, not for her. In addition to her personable demeanor, Yolanda became known for her no-nonsense approach to conducting business meetings. She set a very high standard of operations for JSUNAA and also established herself as a fearless leader who tackled many tough topics and challenges during her tenure as President.

Yolanda is an active member of Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta where she is a member of the Richard Allen Usher Board and is trained as a Small Group Study leader for Crown Financial Ministries. With a strong sense of civic duty, she also holds a Silver Life Membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – DeKalb County Chapter. She is a Toastmaster and also a member of the Stone MountainLithonia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she served on the local chapter’s executive board from 2009-2015. For her work with JSUNAA, Yolanda was the 2016 recipient of the Fortitude Award, given to a member of the sorority for outstanding accomplishments outside of Delta Sigma Theta.

With a joint nomination from three previous alumnus of the year award winners (Rose Austin2003; Katherine Cage-2010; & Sharon Davis-2017), Yolanda is a true servant leader whose dedication has inspired others to commit or recommit to JSUNAA. She has a strong history of financial support and has been recognized for her contributions by the JSU Development Foundation as well as the Metro Atlanta Chapter. To demonstrate her personal allegiance to the association, she has paid local dues to several chapters in the Southeast Region. Her service and leadership have put the association on a trajectory as one of the leading HBCU Alumni Associations in the nation and Yolanda is quite deserving of the title of the 2018 JSUNAA Alumnus of the Year.

Posted in Alumni Applause

Michele Purvis Harris

September 27th, 2018 by alumnirelations

Michele Purvis Harris, a 1984 Political Science graduate of Jackson State University is a native of Mt. Olive, MS. Mrs. Harris is the daughter of  Madison and Mary Magee, who were both educators. After earning her Bachelor’s degree, Mrs. Harris attended the University Of Mississippi School Of Law where she received her Doctor of Jurisprudence in May of 1987. While in law school, Mrs.Harris worked as an intern at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services where she assisted Attorney Alvin Chambliss with the legendary Ayers Case, the landmark Mississippi college desegregation lawsuit that sought to improve the academic programs and facilities at Mississippi’s historically black state colleges by boosting funding. In October 1987, Mrs. Harris was admitted to the Mississippi Bar and has practiced law in the state of Mississippi for over thirty years.

Upon graduation from law school, she practiced with the Legal Services Corporation for five years until 1991 when she started her career with the City of Jackson as an Assistant City Prosecutor. While serving as a prosecutor Mrs.Harris became known for her tenacious but fair pursuit of justice. In addition to her responsibilities as a prosecutor, she litigated drug forfeiture cases for the City of Jackson Police Department and became the first attorney in the state to successfully seize a home from individuals that were involved in the drug trade. In 1994 she was appointed by then-mayor Kane Ditto as the first African American to serve as Chief City Prosecutor for the City of Jackson, Mississippi. In October 2003, Mrs.Harris began working with the Hinds County District Attorney’s office as an Assistant District Attorney.

In 2012, Senior Circuit Court Judge Tomie T. Green appointed Mrs. Harris to the position of Hinds County Public Defender where she became the first female, as well as the first African American to hold the position. As Public Defender, Mrs. Harris oversees an office of eleven attorneys, two investigators, and four legal secretaries. During her first year as Public Defender, the office had over an 80% trial success rate. Mrs. Harris resides in Clinton with her husband Melvin Harris and has one daughter, Madison, who is a senior at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS.

Posted in Alumni Applause

Anthony L. Webster

August 30th, 2018 by alumnirelations

Anthony L. Webster, a 2010 Bachelor of Science in Psychology graduate of Jackson State University is a 30-year-old native of Greenville, Miss. As a student leader at Jackson State University, he recognized his passion for higher education after landing work study in the Division of Student Life where he completed over 300 required internship hours. Mr. Webster was an instrumental liaison between students and staff while attending the University. He also served in several leadership capacities including Sophomore Class Secretary, Mr. Junior, and Senior Class President. 

After earning his Bachelor’s degree, Mr. Webster traveled to Michigan in pursuit of his Masters of Arts degree in Higher Education-Student Affairs at Eastern Michigan University. While in Michigan, he joined the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where he worked closely with the national program “Go to High School, Go to College”. Mr. Webster traveled throughout the state providing youth with the tools and knowledge necessary to pursue post-secondary education. After earning his Master’s degree, he began working as a recruiter at the University of Michigan; where he managed the recruitment and programming for the city of Detroit for five years.

 Mr. Webster currently works at Washtenaw Community College, as the Student Success Specialist where he takes great pride in providing support to occupational program students as they navigate the expected and unexpected barriers of earning a college degree.  In 2019, he anticipates pursuing his Ph.D. Mr. Webster also serves as the JSUNAA Detroit Chapter President. His platform as President is, “Exposure, Engagement, and Opportunity”. Mr. Webster continues to inspire students across the world by helping them to recognize the value in earning a college degree.  

Posted in Alumni Applause